I’ve gotten pretty close to spending the night in airports, and bus stations for that matter. But a few weeks ago it actually happened. I was trying to catch a standby flight from the Dallas Fort Worth airport to Kansas City. Everything was booked, booked, and overbooked. Earliest morning flight: 7AM. By the time I figured this out it was already past ten and, as the Dallas airport is practically a city in itself, I wasn’t particularly eager to navigate my way out of it, into another city, and back all in about seven hours. Consensus: a sleepover at the airport. Here’s what you gotta do:
1. Food: Remember how I said it was after ten by the time I made my plan to stay the night? Well pretty much everything in the airport closes at ten. It’s a good thing I like vending machine food. I found some Cheez-its at one in Terminal C by the lost and found. Score.
2. Hygiene (see also, making Friends): This is a no-brainer. Airport restrooms are clean and have all your basic hygienic needs: soap, water, paper towels. As a bonus they are basically empty by eleven at night so if you’re lucky you’ll get one all to yourself.
3. Finding a place to sleep: DFW is on top of their game when it comes to comfort sleeping at the airport. They have cots. And blankets. And pillows! I dawdled around for too long and when I went to get blankets there weren’t any left. But I did see a guy lying down on top of one blanket with another one at his feet…might not hurt to ask, right? Turns out he didn’t want to share. So at bedtime I pulled out some clothes from my suitcase to serve as substitute blankets, which worked fine until about two in the morning when I thought I was going to freeze to death. I got up to go to the bathroom and blanket-hoarder still had an unused blanket at his feet! In frigid desperation I asked again and this time he gave in! Moral of the story: get yourself some blankets early.
4. Making friends: It feels kinda lonely when your suitcase wheels on the tile are the only sound in the terminal. It’s nice to have people around even if they are blanket-hoarders. Actually I got pretty lucky. In addition to the blanket-hoarder, there was also a family of four watching Matilda, which took my night from a 2 to a 7 on a scale of 10. AND the mom lent me toothpaste (hence the reference from the hygiene section).